FAST FIVE is the fifth and best-produced, most exciting movie in the FAST AND FURIOIUS series, bucking the trend of most sequels being worse than their predecessors. It’s a popcorn classic that features wall-to-wall action but also manages to have characters with genuine emotions and performances that rise above the norm of most action fare. There’s still too much foul language, however, and some problematic elements, but the Christian faith of Vin Diesel’s kind-hearted rogue is presented more strongly than ever.
In the story, federal agent Brian O’Connor frees Dominic Toretto from a harsh, unfair prison sentence by helping Dom’s sister, Mia, break Dom out of a prison bus. Brian and Mia then show up in Rio de Janeiro at the doorstep of Dom’s partner, Vince. Needing money, Brian and Mia agree to help Vince steal some cars seized by the DEA. They are being paid by a Rio crime lord named Reyes, whose gang shows up during the heist and kills the three DEA agents guarding the cars on a train headed north to America.
Dom also shows up during the heist to help Brian, Mia and Vince, but he suspects there’s something else in one of the cars Reyes wants. So, he orders Mia to take the most suspect car to their hideout while he and Brian fight off the Reyes gang. A slambang, jaw-dropping stunt sequence follows, at the end of which, however, the gang captures Brian and Dom. Reyes has Dom and Brian tied up and threatens their lives, but Brian and Dom escape.
Back at their hideout, they find out that the car they took from Reyes contains a computer chip detailing the schedule and location of all of the drug drops of Reyes and his gang. Now, however, a special team of American agents, led by Luke Hobbs, a tough hombre played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, arrives in Rio. Hobbs thinks Brian and Dom killed the DEA agents, and he’s all set to take them dead or alive.
In order to escape this new problem, Dom, Mia and Brian decide to take down the Reyes gang and steal all their money. They figure that, with all that money, they can evade capture forever – especially if they go to countries with no extradition treaties with the United States. Of course, this scheme proves easier planned than done.
While FAST FIVE asks audiences to root for a gang on the lam for breaking someone out of prison, it’s still a movie that’s undeniably fun and unbelievably fast-paced. As noted, the characters and the performances driving them have an extra level of soul and emotion that are above the norm for the genre and that translates into a strong message in which family comes ahead of money, even for these criminals on the wrong side of the law. At one point, the sister reveals she’s pregnant, but this is seen as a joyous occasion, where family is expanded rather than a burden as some movies might do. However, she and the movie’s other lead hero seem to remain unmarried even at the end.
Despite this problem, FAST FIVE is laced with overtly positive Christian moments, including three dramatic shots of the giant Jesus statue overlooking Rio. Also, Dom prays the Sign of the Cross over a friend and clearly calls for a character to say grace before a meal. In addition, Dom speaks positively about his late father, describing him as a churchgoing man who made the family attend church every Sunday and who was happy to feed other neighborhood people as long as they went to church. In the end, he looks happily up at Heaven as he prepares to give a lot of the heist money to the widow of his dead friend to help raise her child. He also allows Brian to win a car race in the middle of the movie so that Brian and his sister will have an extra $1 million to raise his child with. While the gang keeps much of the loot, they are out to destroy the crime kingpin and set average poor people free from the kingpin’s tyranny. Another remarkable scene involves the federal agent Hobbs in danger of being killed by the Reyes gang members after he captures Dom, Brian and Mia, but they return to save him from certain death. This leads to a reconciliation of sorts between Hobbs and Dom and an allegiance to bring down the crime kingpin.
All told, FAST FIVE is edge-of-your-seat entertainment from start to finish, with a welcome extra dose of positive values in the mix marred by an antinomian set-up. Even so, the movie’s most positive message seems to be, “Faith, family and friends sustain us.” There’s still too much foul language, however, even though, in FAST FIVE, the filmmakers have eliminated the strong negative content of the last movie. Thus, extreme or strong caution is still warranted.
(BB, CCC, Pa, FR, LLL, VV, S, A, DD, MN) Strong moral worldview ultimately stressing faith, family and friendship about fighting and stopping a crime and drug lord in Brazil who bribes poor people and police to rule the city (but by stealing all of his ill-gotten gains), plus main characters being chased by U.S. authorities eventually save the life of the American policeman chasing them when the crime kingpin starts killing the policeman’s men in an ambush, with very strong overt references to Jesus and Christianity including a reference to saying “Grace” before a meal and main character crosses himself, wears a cross and speaks fondly of his churchgoing, benevolent father, but diminished by some pagan and antinomian (or lawless) behavior (including some focus on materialistic values) by protagonists who break the law and seek money to keep hiding from police after one of them got an overly harsh, unjust sentence from a judge (even though he helped the FBI agent who fell in love with his sister) and the others have helped him escape from custody; wall-to-wall action violence and destruction of cars and property, with several major fistfights, gun battles, chase scenes, and reckless driving with explosions along the way, leading to an action packed finale; at least 41 obscenities (including one “f” word) and five GDs; no sex scenes but woman is pregnant out of wedlock and one of the women in the heroic gang wears a bikini and allows the main crime kingpin to place his hand on her derriere in order to get his palm print for use in accessing his main money safe; no nudity but a montage shows scantily clad women near an illegal street race and women working in cocaine factory are dressed in underwear to make sure they don’t steal any drugs; scenes of drinking beer; smoking and light references to evil drug lord and his cocaine factories but no on-screen drug use; and, some general moral relativism includes stealing, evading the law, corrupt police officers in police cars are treated as nemeses, police officer gives a head start to some fugitives after they save his life and help bring down a crime kingpin, and reckless driving destroys property and endangers bystanders.
FAST FIVE finds the FAST AND FURIOUS gang in Rio de Janeiro, where Dom, former federal agent Brian and Dom’s sister Mia are hiding out after saving Dom from an unjust prison sentence. To get money, Dom’s partner Vince involves them in a scheme to steal some cars seized by the DEA. Paying them is a drug kingpin named Reyes, who bribes the local poor people and police. Dom’s not fond of this job, however. He discovers one car hides a computer chip detailing the schedule of all of the Reyes gang’s drug drops. Eventually, after several twists and turns, Dom, Brian and Mia team up with a special American policeman to bring down Reyes.
FAST FIVE is one of the most exciting, jaw-dropping popcorn movies to come along. The characters and the performances driving them have an extra level of soul and emotion. The movie still has too much foul language, however, though the filmmakers have removed the strong negative content afflicting the last FAST AND FURIOUS movie. In fact, Dom’s Christian faith seems stronger than ever in FAST FIVE, though the main characters are still on the lam from the law.